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Chicago at Minnesota

Final 10th
W: J. Rincon (2-0) L: A. Sisco (0-1)
HR: CHW - J. Crede (3)   MIN - J. Morneau (7), J. Morneau (8)

Morneau hits two HRs, helps Twins prevail in 10th inning

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports

MINNEAPOLIS -- Justin Morneau is a soft-spoken, hockey-loving Canadian who shies away from the spotlight at every opportunity.

He's perfectly content living in buddy Joe Mauer's 6-foot-5 inch shadow, but Morneau is getting more and more comfortable in prime time situations.

Morneau's second homer of the game, a three-run blast off Nick Masset in the 10th inning, lifted the struggling Minnesota Twins to a 7-4 victory over the Chicago White Sox on Tuesday night.

"I wouldn't say I like it," Morneau said of coming to the plate with the game on the line. "But the more you get up there, the more comfortable you feel in that situation."

Luis Castillo led off the 10th with a double past a diving Joe Crede at third base, and Andrew Sisco (0-1) struck out Jason Kubel before Masset intentionally walked Torii Hunter.

Masset got cleanup hitter Michael Cuddyer to fly out, but hung a pitch letter-high to Morneau, who drilled a no-doubter deep into the upper deck in right field to win it.

It was his second game-winning homer this season and fifth multi-homer game of his career. He hit a solo homer in the ninth inning against Tampa Bay on April 12. But he came into the game hitting just .267 with six homers and 17 RBI after being the surprise AL MVP last season.

"He carried us all last year and hopefully we can hop on his back again, with Joe Mauer out," third baseman Nick Punto said.

Morneau hit a solo shot in the second to end a long homerless drought for the Twins and Juan Rincon (2-0) pitched a scoreless 10th inning to get the victory for Minnesota, which appeared well on its way to a fifth loss in six games before Chicago starter Javier Vazquez left the mound.

Vazquez stymied the struggling Twins hitters for seven innings, allowing one run and four hits and striking out seven. He handed over a 4-1 lead to Mike MacDougal to start the eighth, and that's when the Twins bats came alive.

Jason Bartlett had an RBI-double, Castillo scored a run with a groundout, and Hunter extended his hitting streak to 22 games with an RBI-single up the middle off David Aardsma that tied the game 4-4.

"A game like that we have to win," Chicago manager Ozzie Guillen said. "Especially with the bullpen we have. When you've got a lead like that, the way we throw the ball out of the bullpen, that's a game you should have. No question about it. But they never give up."

Crede had a homer and two RBI for the White Sox, who took advantage of a throwing error by Minnesota starter Boof Bonser to take a three-run lead in the sixth.

Bonser fielded a bunt from Pablo Ozuna and tried to throw out Darin Erstad at third base, but his throw sailed wide of Punto and into foul territory, allowing Erstad to score. A.J. Pierzynski, the former Twin who is still booed loudly in the Metrodome, and Crede added soft RBI-singles.

"This is definitely more of a heartbreaker, but we've got to say 'Hey, it's a loss,' and move on," Sox first baseman Paul Konerko said. "We can still try to win this series."

Both clubs limped into this series opener beset by injuries in the field and ineptitude at the plate.

The White Sox are playing without table setter Scott Podsednik (groin) and slugger Jim Thome (ribs) and entered the night with an AL-worst .222 batting average.

The Twins were hitting .273, but have faltered lately while losing batting champ Mauer (quad), left fielder Rondell White (calf) and Cuddyer (back), who returned on Tuesday night after a five-game absence.

The Twins have never been known as a big-boppin' club, but this year's team really put the "small" in small ball before Morneau's big night.

They managed five runs while losing two of three to Boston over the weekend and entered the game with just 16 homers in their first 31 games, second fewest in the majors to Washington's 13. Morneau's homer in the second snapped a string of 189 plate appearances without a long ball.

"Hopefully it takes all the pressure off everybody," Morneau said. "It's been a bit of a struggle for a while. Maybe this will turn it around."


  • Twins 3B Punto made a highlight-reel catch in the seventh when Konerko's popup bounced out of his glove, but he caught it on the rebound just before it hit the ground.
  • Aardsma drew jeers in the ninth when his first pitch of an intentional walk to Punto sailed over Pierzynski's mitt.
Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
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Teammates swarm Justin Morneau, whose second HR of the night is a game-winning blast in the 10th.  (AP)
Teammates swarm Justin Morneau, whose second HR of the night is a game-winning blast in the 10th. (AP)

Players of the Game

J. Morneau
AB 4
R 2
H 2
HR 2

J. Crede
AB 4
R 1
H 2
HR 1

Related Video

Chicago White Sox
Darin Erstad, CF5110002 .264
Pablo Ozuna, DH4110000 .200
   a- Rob Mackowiak, PH-DH0000100 .167
Jermaine Dye, RF5010023 .218
Paul Konerko, 1B4010002 .198
A.J. Pierzynski, C4111013 .228
Tadahito Iguchi, 2B4010012 .230
Joe Crede, 3B4122020 .220
Alex Cintron, SS4000022 .128
Ryan Sweeney, LF3010100 .263
a-walked for Ozuna in the 10th
2B - Darin Erstad (5, Bonser)
HR - Joe Crede (3, Bonser)
RBI - A.J. Pierzynski (11), Joe Crede 2 (11)
2-OUT RBI - A.J. Pierzynski (2), Joe Crede (4)
CS - Ryan Sweeney (1, 2nd base by Bonser/Redmond)
Team LOB - 5
DP - Cintron-Iguchi-Konerko, Iguchi-Cintron-Konerko
Chicago White Sox
Javier Vazquez 7411171 3.52
Mike MacDougal0333000 5.40
Matt Thornton (H,8) 0.1000000 5.63
David Aardsma (BS,2) 1.2100210 1.40
Andrew Sisco (L,0-1) 0.1111010 4.15
Nick Masset 0.1122101 4.80
IBB - Punto by David Aardsma, Hunter by Nick Masset
WP - David Aardsma (1)
Pitches-Strikes - Javier Vazquez 107-70, Mike MacDougal 13-9, Matt Thornton 3-1, David Aardsma 22-10, Andrew Sisco 12-8, Nick Masset 11-5
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Javier Vazquez 8-4, Matt Thornton 1-0, David Aardsma 2-2
Batters Faced - Javier Vazquez 24, Mike MacDougal 3, Matt Thornton 1, David Aardsma 8, Andrew Sisco 2, Nick Masset 3
Minnesota Twins
Luis Castillo, 2B4121100 .299
Jason Tyner, LF3000002 .286
   a- Josh Rabe, PH0000000 .214
   b- Jason Kubel, PH-LF2000022 .239
Torii Hunter, CF4111120 .342
Michael Cuddyer, RF5010014 .280
Justin Morneau, 1B4224101 .274
Jeff Cirillo, DH3000011 .211
Mike Redmond, C4120001 .261
Nick Punto, 3B3110121 .231
Jason Bartlett, SS4111013 .263
a-announced for Tyner in the 8th
b-struck out for Rabe in the 8th
2B - Luis Castillo (3, Sisco), Mike Redmond (4, Vazquez), Jason Bartlett (6, MacDougal)
HR - Justin Morneau 2 (8, Vazquez, Masset)
SH - Jeff Cirillo (1)
RBI - Luis Castillo (4), Torii Hunter (22), Justin Morneau 4 (21), Jason Bartlett (8)
2-OUT RBI - Torii Hunter (11), Justin Morneau 3 (7)
Team LOB - 5
DP - Bartlett-Castillo-Morneau, Bartlett-Morneau
E - Boof Bonser (1, Throwing)
Minnesota Twins
Boof Bonser 7841171 3.96
Matt Guerrier 1100000 2.45
Joe Nathan 1000010 2.87
Juan Rincon (W,2-0) 1000100 2.03
Pitches-Strikes - Boof Bonser 95-70, Matt Guerrier 11-7, Joe Nathan 24-17, Juan Rincon 17-10
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Boof Bonser 5-8, Matt Guerrier 1-1, Joe Nathan 2-0, Juan Rincon 3-0
Batters Faced - Boof Bonser 29, Matt Guerrier 3, Joe Nathan 3, Juan Rincon 4
Game Information
Attendance - 21979
Game Time - 3:10
Temperature - 70
Umpires - Home - Doug Eddings, First Base - Dana DeMuth, Second Base - Derryl Cousins, Third Base - Kerwin Danley